If my boyfriend filed a Chapter 13 for both private and federal student loans and we were to marry, would I be responsible for the repayment of any of that debt?

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If my boyfriend filed a Chapter 13 for both private and federal student loans and we were to marry, would I be responsible for the repayment of any of that debt?

I have a rather large amount in savings and would be worried that amount would somehow be sacrificed due to his debt if we were married.

Asked on January 25, 2015 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You should not be directly legally responsible for debts which he incurred prior to marriage and which you did not co-sign or guaranty and which you have not assumed (taken on) at any point. That said, there are substantial risks for you: for example, say he is sued by the government for his federal student loans (which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy except in very rare circumstances--typically only 1% or less of people who try to discharge these loans are able to). If he is sued, his bank (or brokerage) accounts may be frozen and/or be levied upon. If you have joint accounts, your accounts may be affected as well. Even if you don't have joint accounts, creditors may think that your accounts are his and/or that he is using your accounts to hide his money and try to take action against your accounts, forcing you to defend them. Also, if he has bad credit and has filed bankruptcy, expect that you, as a married couple may have difficulty getting credit (e.g. a mortgage; a car loan), or that you may have to pay higher interest or a larger downpayment--which would come out of your savings--etc. There are significant issues which you may face marrying someone who has filed chapter 13 and has damaged credit.


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